NATIVES TOLERATE DROUGHT
HOT summer days spent enjoying the sun outside are best done sparingly this time of year before retreating inside.
Sadly, your outdoor plants have no such luxury, so if you want to keep your garden healthy this summer, it is a good idea to look for the species made of tougher stuff.
Yates horticulturist Angie Thomas says drought-tolerant plants will help keep the maintenance to a minimum.
“Drought tolerant doesn’t mean that you can plant it and never look at it or water it again,” Thomas says.
“They are adaptive to not using as much water and lose less moisture through their foliage.”
Many Australian native classics, such as banksias, bottlebrushes, and wattles, will fit this description nicely.
“All of the species that have been here since the beginning have had to adapt to hot, dry conditions,” she says.
“Not only can you have a garden that is less reliant on water, you can have something that looks really attractive as well and the birds and bees will love you for it.”
Thomas says clever plant breeding over recent years has led to new cultivars of native plants that
Opt for deep watering every so often over shallow watering regularly — it helps your plant put down a good root system
They may not drink as much but native plants do like to be fed. Try organic manure-based fertilisers to help them look their best
Water daily for the first month if you are planting them in the summer time are more suited to a backyard, such as dwarf varieties of banksias, grevilleas and kangaroo paws.
“They are more compact, they flower often for a longer period and they are more pest resilient,” she says. “They’re really handy when it comes to growing plants in pots because pots tend to try out a lot quicker than when in the ground.”
While drought-tolerant plants need to be watered regularly for the first month, after that Thomas says many of them can survive mostly on rainfall.
“It’s nice to give them a bit of a drink the night before a real scorcher,” she says.
“A lot of them benefit from trimming and pruning — it keeps them from looking like sticks.”